Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crossing The Finish Line

I've mentioned before that I am training to run a half marathon (I'm making very slow progress). The other day while running with a friend she said something that has been stuck in my head for a while now. Most 'real' runners have probably heard this before: The first 10 miles of a marathon you run with your legs, the next 10 you run with your mind and the last 6 are all heart.

It got me thinking, is that mantra true in writing? Heck, is it true in life? Here are a few of my thoughts:

Physical Strength/Desire
The desire to do something can pop into our heads at any moment. It doesn't require much to want to do/learn/complete something...we need only the tiniest spark of interest. Three years ago, I wanted to learn how to play the piano. I took lessons for an entire year, learned some new things and then I began to hate going to my lessons. I wasn't able to sustain my dream of playing the piano with the reality of actually attending weekly lessons. Our training in the physical stage needs to be more than just a thought, more than just some "thing" we wish we could do. It needs to grow roots, to become part of who we are so the training doesn't feel like training.

Mental Strength/Perseverance
This is where most goals die. When the newness and adrenaline fade, what's left to sustain it? When running, I'd imagine this is when you start repeating "I can do this" over and over. When writing, this phase is when you sit and type words even when they don't come easily, even when you must miss The Bachelor to meet your daily word goal. Perseverance is a common thread for almost anyone who has succeeded at something.

Heart Strength/Determination
I can't even imagine what getting to 20 miles feels like only to know that you're not done yet. I can't even imagine how wonderful it would feel to finish my manuscript or to secure an agent only to know that I'm not finished yet. This stage is hinged on only one thing. How badly do you want it? How determined are you to find a way to make it happen?

I am no where near my ultimate goals of being published or crossing a finish line but I am trying to do things that will get me closer, one baby step at a time.

1. Invest in some "gear". Whether it's a laptop to get your thoughts down or a new pair of running shoes, you need to be prepared to act when the desire strikes.

2. Set small, personal goals. Knowing you have something to do at a specific time is very motivating. Just make sure you don't miss the appointment!

3. Start telling people about your goals. This does two things. It gets people interested in what you're doing and it creates accountability. You're more likely to work towards your goal if you know someone is going to ask you about it.

4. Start to believe that it can happen. I still struggle with this one. But I have noticed that I make the most progress on the days I believe in myself.

5. Align yourself with like minded people. Just knowing there are others out there attempting the seemingly impossible or better yet, those that have made it across the finish line, are wells of information and encouragement.

6. Talk to God about your goals. God longs to give us the desires of our hearts. Sometimes all it takes is for us to ask!

Which phase (physical, mental, or heart) is the hardest for you to overcome? What are some things you do to get yourself motivated?


  1. Food for thought...Victory is empty without a struggle! =)

  2. Put God in the number one position.


I'd love to hear your thoughts too!